Talk:Domestication/Archive 1

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False Dichotomy

Re: "Some researchers give credit to natural selection, where mutations outside of human control make some members of a species more compatible to human cultivation or companionship. Others have shown that carefully controlled selective breeding is responsible for many of the collective changes associated with domestication." Mutations are not natural selection, they are the source if variation which makes selection (natural or otherwise) possible. A mutation/variation that makes an animal more compatible to human cultivation is still, implicitly, selected by humans even if not as part of an organized breeding scheme. The real distinction here is between conscious selective breeding by humans in the form of animal husbandry and unconscious selective breeding by humans in the form of favoritism toward animals that are more compatible. In any case, "some researchers" and "others" need to be clarified with specific citation. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:02, 9 September 2007 (UTC)


Having just found the model up on here I pasted it on this page. I am one of the autors of fr:Domestication, that we turned into a featured article (I wrote feathered first, no, that's only for hens if I remember well). I took some pieces on this article on the beginning (still the part on plants (= espèces végétales) it a closed translation from the english article). If some of you are willing so, I would be glad to be help or to help in translating the article in french and, why not, get the star on the top right for it. It wouldn't mean to delete all the existing article of course, since it's allready quite developped. Any volonteers ? Salut ! Astirmays 21:19, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

Dog domestication

Most of the article says that dogs were domesticated around 15,000 BCE, but under the history chart, it says

"Obviously, these are not dates that are set in stone. In fact, these dates are possibly far from being accurate due to scanty evidence. The earliest estimates, however, are that animals started to be domesticated approximately 10,000 years ago (8000 BCE)."

Is this a mistake?

It isn't. It seems that dog were domesticated several milenium before this other species. There is clues that shows that it was even much earlier than 15,000 BC that the relationship between dog and man started. (since mitrochondrial DNA indicate that dog and wolf would have separate about 150 000 year ago). See Origin of the domestic dog. Or fr:domestication and other ones. Astirmays 22:01, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Raptors have been both caught in the wild and raised from birth to hunt with and for humans; dogs are also used to flush game for the birds. This goes back thousands of years.

Dogs Domesticated in Middle East?

While Middle East is technically Asia, I don't believe that's what researchers referred in a recent study that found Asian dogs such as Chow Chow to be closest genetically to ancient wolves.

Shouldn't it be Asia, not Middle East? While the Middle East is when the first civilizations started, the domestication of dogs happened long before that.

On proposed merger with domesticated animal

Domestication is a distinct subject. This article contains lots that might belong (also?) at domesticated animal, but the examples serve to illuminate the question of demestication, so at least some of this should stay here.

I'm opposed to the proposed merger on these grounds. Admustments are probably indicated, however.

Here is my take. There is a separate List of domesticated animals that I plan to merged Domesticated animals with in accordance with the wikipedia naming conventions for lists. The List of domesticated plants and List of domesticated animals are useful and should be maintained separately from this article on domestication, although they should all contain links to each other.--Jjhake 21:39, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

six critera. but maybe 7?

The six criteria appear to be seven in number. I don't have a copy of the book, could someone who does fix either the number or the list? Bryan

I fixed the list. The "moderate size" seems to have been added afterwards, and does not match elephants. --FvdP

Cats? Domesticated?

The degree of domestication of the cat is "questionable, because it does not really recognise a human as its chief"? This is in contrast, say, to the rabbit and the guinea pig??? -- Someone else 20:37 Jan 10, 2003 (UTC)

I guess the main reason is that the cat comes from Africa ;-) --FvdP 20:46 Jan 10, 2003 (UTC)
Must be. Actually, I think those who claim the cat is not domestic might be overimpressed by the fact that the cat can survive on its own quite nicely, feeling that domestic animals somehow ought to be obligately dependent on humans. But now I've been forced to do it: haul out Guns, Germs, and Steel: cats are indexed on pages 158, 173, 207, and 389. on p. 158: "...cats were domesticated in North Africa and Southwest Asia to hunt rodent pests." (The page has lots of small animals designated as domesticated (honeybee, silkworm moth, chinchilla), but Jared says the big animals were more important (not more domesticated). p. 173: "Cats and ferrets are the sole territorial mammal species that were domesticated, because our motive for doing so was not to herd them in large groups riased for food but to keep them as solitary hunters or pets." p. 207 relates to diseases that can be spread by "our pets and domestic animals". p. 389: "Wild ancestors cats were native to North Africa but also to Southwest Asia, so we can't yet be certain where they were first domesticated, although the earliest dates currently known cats favor Egypt." So nowhere does Diamond question the domesticity of the cat. Nor do I think there is any question that the species has been altered by its contact with man, so the offending phrase will now magically disappear (until the next person with an opinion stops by<G>). -- Someone else 21:05 Jan 10, 2003 (UTC)
There were other animals introduced at the same time like the cat, eg. fox and fallow deer, so I would be extremely doubtful on claims on domestication --Yak 16:46, May 1, 2004 (UTC)

Pedigree of Diamond's Criteria?

Hmm. Weird indeed. The criteria listed are only "According to evolutionary anthropologist Jared Diamond...", (ie, they are not universal), yet the rest of the article judges everything by this guy's criteria. not good -- Tarquin 20:40 Jan 10, 2003 (UTC)

You are right that chunks of the article are extracted from Diamond's book[1]. However that is because his arguments are pretty convincing and apparently well researched. His book is well worth reading in full. It gives a large number of references to his source material, and as far as I can establish his conclusions are largely his original work. [He got the Rhone-Poulenc Science Book Prize, for whatever that's worth]. Anyone know of anyone else who has published anything else substantial in this area? Gliderman (talk) 22:07, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

outsider taxa

On Talk:Domesticated outsider taxa i pose a queston abt my nonce term "outsider taxa", which also relates to Domestication. --Jerzy 09:33, 2003 Oct 27 (UTC)

potted plants -- domesticated?

Does anybody know what is the difference between domesticated plants mentioned here and all the nice pottery plants which are for sale and based on wild ancestors? This question arose at Dutch Wikipedia. Thanks Ellywa 11:07, 24 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Bees and rats

Should the honey bee and the silkworm be mentioned?

Is there a term for parahuman animals (pests) like rats, city pigeons and gulls. They are not tamed but depend (at least many of them) on humans.

-- Error 00:30, 30 Mar 2004 (UTC)

ww 16:02, 28 Apr 2004 (UTC)

I oppose, too; I would think that this article would deal with the process of and issues about domestication, whereas Domestic animal would identify those already domesticated and their role in various societies or cultures. Elf | Talk 03:06, 12 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I would call these "parahuman animals" commensalist (a user of french wikipedia : Astirmays)

Domestication by Animals

Why are the "ant-cow" aphids raised by leaf-cutter ants not a case of domestication? There are behaviors in the ants whose sole function is meeting the needs of the aphids, and why should hard-wired genetic behavior be treated so differently from conscious intention? In fact, if that were the criterion, there is a theory that says since wolves are so unamenable to domestication, the truth must be that a human-tolerant mutation must have been selected for due to the ability of wolves expressing it to scavenge from garbage heaps that humans created with no intention of domesticating anything; that would mean the domestication process went a long ways inintentionally, but IMO no one would conclude from that that dogs aren't really domesticated. --Jerzy(t) 23:58, 2004 Aug 15 (UTC)

Dogs: 10000 BCE or 11000 BCE

The article says two diferent things about the beginning of dog's domestication. In one place it says they were domesticated 10000 BCE, in another place - 11000 BCE. 04:41, 24 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Adjusted table to match info we've got in the dog article. The next place in the article mentions both ends of the range. Elf | Talk 00:42, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)

recent editions to table

Sorry not to have included a summary with previous edits. I am new at this. All my changes were on the table of approximate dates. I added Honeybee and Silkworm, expanded the date for Cats, and adjusted the spacing of cells. I hope I have not caused any trouble. Feel free to remove Honeybee or Silkworm if not appropriate.

Jjhake 22:49, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)

A separate master list of all organisms being bred under human control

I am wondering if the section called “Categories of domesticated organisms” should be moved into a separate master list that would be merged with the “List of domesticated animals,” the “List of domesticated plants” and the list of “Domesticated outsider taxa.” There are so many organisms with complete lifecycles under the care and direction of humans that the list in this article is starting to look like a full taxonomical chart of all living things. It is an interesting and valuable list, but I think that it should all be consolidated into one list that is organized into the three main categories of animals, plants, and outsider taxa. I also think that there should be some standardized way of specifying the degree of domestication for a species or a simple explanation of why it should be included on the list. The article on domestication should contain a clear link to this master list, but I think that the article and the master list should be separate projects. What do others think? --[[User:Jjhake|Jjhake (talk)]] 21:24, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I don't think we need to replicate the list of living things--it is startling to click "mammals" in this article and, instead of getting a list of domesticated mammals, getting the full article on all mammals, etc. I agree that we need a better definition of what we want to list as domesticated--presumably any plant that has been brought in from the wild and hybridized a couple of times is "domesticated", which leaves us with billion and billions of plants that could be listed. And I think there's already a reasonably good list of reasonably thoroughly domesticated animals in the article. So I'm thinking get rid of this bit entirely. Elf | Talk 01:11, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Okay, seeing no further comments, I will go ahead and plan to relocate this section (Categories of domesticated organisms). I will merge it with the lists. I think a list of domesticated organisms and their categories might still be of interest, but it should in be consolidated as a separate list. Any further thoughts?

Here is one possible system for a way of organizing the list of domesticated organisms:

A similar system could to be used for plants and the other kingdoms.

For large animals this works. For small animals (rodents etc), it's going to be very hard (who knows how many have been kept as pets sometime, somewhere!). For plants it would seem a virtually impossible task, so many species have been bred by humans for drugs, ornament, etc, and so many hybrides created (in passing where do these fit in, hybrid species created by man, sometimes by genetic engineering as well as 'voluntary' and 'forced/un-natural' breeding). Gliderman (talk) 22:20, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

Cows in the Sahara

Recently, this link was added to the article along with the statement that cows were first domesticated around 6000 BCE in Northern-Africa. While I don't know much about domestication, I'm sure that the link does not warrant this statement: it does not even contain the word 'cow' or 'ox'; it only speaks of 'cattle', which in African contexts easily could apply to goats or other non-cow kinds of cattle. As the link does not warrant the conclusion that it speaks about cows and cows only, it should not make the article say so. That is why I have removed it the first time and why I have moved it to Talk now. — mark 18:28, 4 May 2005 (UTC)

Fair enough; I don't claim to know naything about African pastoralism, and was unaware that in this context "cow" and "cattle" aren't necessarily the same thing. I decided based on my understanding of "cattle", and that the link looks credible - hosted in a university professor's web space, apparently a supplement to a textbook - that the link could stay. But I'm happy to leave it out. Thanks, mark, for your detailed explanation. CDC (talk) 20:11, 4 May 2005 (UTC)


By 6,000 BCE Evidence of domesticated 'humpless' cattle in the Saharan region. Also seed-cropping (or harvesting) of grains. [posted by Roylee]

Still no cows. You know, there might have been, but I would just like to see a more solid and unambiguous source. — mark 20:47, 4 May 2005 (UTC)

Honey bees domesticated?

Now I only dabble in beekeeping... but I was under the impression that honey bees were never truely domesticated. That's what beekeepers have told me. you can go "capture" a wild swarm, and "domesticated" bees can swarm and create colonies in the wild. Some queens have been bred for specific traits, but they can live completely independant of humans, unlike cows and other animals. I think they're more coaxed into living in convenient boxes for us than they are domesticated.


What do US domestic animals number have to do with domestication in general?--nixie 08:48, 5 September 2005 (UTC)


"While the process continues with plants (berryfruits, for example), it appears to have ceased with animals." This is a wrong assertion especially if you consider aquaculture. Ericd 21:25, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

And let's see, reindeer, muskoxen, mule deer.... I'm changing this statement. Deirdre 02:12, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

Process of domestication: Mutation vs Natural Selection

I am confused by this paragraph that seems to pit mutation and natural selection as alternate theories of domestication. This seems like a misunderstanding of how natural selection uses mutation. Random mutations cause new genes to appear, and natural selection causes the "better" genes to become widespread. I would guess that there are only two competing theories: natural selection and selective breeding.Happyharris 18:17, 16 November 2005 (UTC)

Thanks, I made an effort to correct this confusion. --Jjhake 02:39, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Psychoactive plants

I removed this text:

Reflecting human cultural proclivity to alter consciousness, plants with psychoactive properties were also domesticated early, such as the opium poppy, the cannabis plant and grapes for fermenting into wine.

It's inaccurate. Opium poppy is fairly early, Neolithic Italy, about 4000 years after wheat and barley domestication, anyhow, probably first domesticated for its oil. Date of hemp is uncertain, but again probably domesticated for oil; grapes are probably c. 5000 years ago, so 5000 years after wheat and barley. I think the writer of the original words is straying from a NPOV in trying to find evidence for early psychoactive use of plants. Mark Nesbitt 22:27, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

International Wiki

Hi all, Come and see the french page about domestication, that I developped partly from this one, then searching for more informations elswhere, and from what I could know. I hope you can understand or guess something, you can either use the google translator... Astirmays

Guinea pigs: domestication in AD 900 or 2000 BC?

From, which reports domestication at 2000 BC and not AD 900 as this article states.

What is Ukraine at 2000BC?

I see, that horse was domesticated in Ukraine 4000 years ago. But this is fake. There is no evidence that either Ukraine or Kievian Rus' existed at that time. (excuse my English) Dims 22:39, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

The country name is being used as a geographical description, not a political one.Mark Nesbitt 12:50, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
How did someone know, that domestication of horse occured on territory of Ukraine, while he don't know what historical country at this territory existed?! It is impossible! Dims 21:14, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
Look! Every other domestication associated with large regions! And only horse associated with some sharpened country! It seems to me, that some ukrainian nationalist put this statement here. It should be replaced with "europe", or, if you wish, "eastern europe"! Dims 21:18, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
I think you're reading a little too far into this. Ukraine is just a more precise geographical description. -- bcasterlinetalk 23:19, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
Ok, let's forget about my reasoning. Simple. Do you have some references, confirming, that domestication of horse occured on territory of Ukraine? Dims 10:53, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
That's the location most references give. See, for example, this page. -- bcasterlinetalk 18:10, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Ok. It seems to me, that this is not the location of domestication, this is location of most early dated finding. We can take every finding about domestication of every animal, for example, a dog. Look! It written there "multiple places". Let's take all these places, sort them by date, select first and -- voila -- we have extremely precise point of domestication of a dog! Nonsense? Nonsense! We should not only sort places by date, we should also prove, that this point caused all other points. Ok. My final suggestion is: let us make two colums for location. In first column we will say where domestication occured by overall study, and in second -- where most early finding located. So, we'll have approximate areas in first column, and precise points in second. There we can put even village Dereivka, where most old teeth found. Because otherwise table looks strange: large regions and Ukraine among them. What about Ukrainian globe? :) Dims 18:48, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Oh so terrestrial...

Fish are also animals...I do not see them listed here anywhere. Carp are one of the earliest domesticates of any animal and they should be considered here. Most people do not realize this, but particularly because of the home aquarium hobby and the importance of aquaculture, there are far more species of domesticated fish than terrestrial animals.

Also, rather than use Jared Diamond's (a nice popular writer on evolution, but not exactly an authority) should use Juliet Clutton-Brock's. See her: Natural History of Domesticated Mammals for a start.

Hi there, please sign your posts. I fixed some 'ukn' -> 'unk' but I must admit fish as domesticated seems somewhat odd given their lack of interaction with humans. Diamond I wouldn't consider authoritative, I'll try to look into the second source, thanks. MKV 01:07, 16 December 2006 (UTC)
Well, it depends on the definition of domestication you have in mind. Goldfish, carps and even new species such as Rainbow trout have gone differents in their shape from their wild ancestor. They are propably more adapted to farming than their wild ancestor were.
By the way, I am the main autor of the french article (featured article). Do you want to turn this one to featured article as well ? I would be glad to help, since if we work well, it would be better than the french one, (and permit to improve it again !) Astirmays 20:51, 16 December 2006 (UTC)


Since when has there been an effort to domesticate dolphins? Training wild animals, particularly ones as intelligent as Ceteceans or the great apes, or keeping wild animals captive, is not at all the same thing as domesticating them. This table needs some sources. Deirdre 02:14, 10 January 2007 (UTC)


I don't see any reptiles on the list. I mean, Ball Pythons are pets, as well as iguanas and other reptiles I can't think of right now. Don't they need a place too?

Oh yeah, and this:

"In Central Asia, Golden Eagles sometimes are trained for falconry: in Kazakhstan there are still hunters using these eagles in order to catch deer and antelopes; in Kyrgyzstan hunters will use them to hunt foxes [1]; and in Mongolia they are traditionally trained to hunt wolves. Some of the animals that Golden Eagles have been trained to kill can weigh 45 kg (100 lb)"

So wouldn't golden eagles be somewhat domesticated?

Confusion about bees

The article seems to be confused about bees, in that it says both "There is early evidence of beekeeping, in the form of rock paintings, dating to 13,000 BC." and (in the table) that bees were domesticated about 4,000 BC. So which is right? (if either; I see somebody earlier queried whether bees counted as domesticated at all). pm215 15:16, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

Pigs domestication, Eastern Turkey and China

Nowhere in the reference, quoted by the article, does it say explicitly or otherwise that Pigs were first domesticated in China! The reference merely proves a divergence in genes between wild Chinese pigs and Europe pigs around 500,000 years before the present and another divergence in genes of the domestic pig around 2000 years ago. The reference is challenging the idea, that pigs were simply spread from their supposed original domestication area, in eastern Turkey and China (not just China, no one has ever thought that!), to the rest of the world. The reference quoted shows, there is some genetic connection between European wild boar and the European domesticated pig. It is therefore saying, there was a independent domestication of the pig in Europe or perhaps there was a mixing of the native European wild species being domesticated with introduced domesticated pigs from the near East, happening later than the earlier domestications that occurred in the near east, Turkey/Israel and the far East, China. (Eastern Turkey and Israel, the fertile crescent, are in the near east, "Asia")

The reference used in the article -

I have changed the Article to include, the Near East and not just China as the places that started pig domestication.


The source reference quoted by the article is not disputing the domestication of sheep initially occurred in the central part of the fertile crescent it is merely showing that the sheep was cross bread with local wild varieties, across Europe and Asia. So, I will erase Asia from the article, which is very vague anyway and does not include Europe, as the site of the domestication of the sheep.

Levels of Domestication

In the section on levels of deomestication, how about adding a further category for species that are now dependant on human intervention for their reproduction? Many plant (especially fruits like bananas and grapes) are now wholly bound to human control over their breeding and can no longer reproduce on their own.

duplicate reindeer listing

'reindeer' appears twice in the list of 'Approximate dates and locations of first domestication'; while in a different region, it seems silly to mention the same animal twice? - Weerlicht 13:19, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

What does "second circle" mean?

I noticed in Domestication#Approximate_dates_and_locations_of_original_domestication, there is a second table labeled "second circle." How does this "circle" differ from the first table? -- (talk) 23:30, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

I'm also terribly confused about this. Obviously, I can speculate, but I don't think we're alone in being confused. The term shouldn't be used unless its explained. (talk) 20:11, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

and Reindeer

and other Reptil, even Ape ,monkey —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:26, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

Definition of domestication

-The definition stated of domestication in this article, I feel is inaccurate. It is limited to plants and animals as the controlled factors and humans as the controlling factors, whereas in truth, abstract, animate and inanimate objects, including many forms of life, processes can come to be considered domesticated and many species can be considered the domesticators, in my opinion. Take, for example, the process of forming diamonds or the idea of flight; they can be considered recently domesticated. For a more relevant example, take certain members of the ant species, who are known to frequently domesticate other insects and herd them for their ability to generate sugar-rich substances, able to sustain an entire colony. Because domestication is in deed slavery, take for a most extreme example, the domesticating of one human by another. The definition of domestication, therefore, should be reconsidered, and, in my opinion, stretched to include the endless possibilities and already current happenings that many of us humans deem inappropriate and preposterous based on the simple fact that we never witnessed it. The working of my opinion on this page may be wholly irrelevant, but it is your honorable duty as editors of an encyclopedia to acknowledge the possible truth, whether it be welcomed or not, and by doing so consider the words previously stated. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:45, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

It has been too many days. I will fix it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:23, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for your contribution.[1] Your definition do not correspond to the normal understanding and usage of the term (which overwhelmingly implies human agency), and it is not reflected in the rest of the article. No one usually talks about "domestication" of diamonds, for instance, or also plants "domesticating" other plants or animals. To consider a "possible truth" without substantial backing is called "original research" in Wikipedia. Becauuse of the lack of support of secondary sources, I am reverting to the original definition. -- (talk) 21:54, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

conservation status?

why is there a conservation status chart attached to this article? (talk) 09:12, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

It has been 10 days, I will remove it. (talk) 04:57, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Former Instances

I believe this section should be removed from the page. There is no evidence that African or Asian elephants were ever domesticated. History shows that they were tamed wild animals. A domesticated animal must be born and reared in captivity.Jgayoso-GMU (talk)

Tasty Elephants?

Someone should check that sentence. I'd change it but I'm not sure what it's supposed to say. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:52, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

No History

This article currently deals with the processes of domestication while never talking specifically about the history of domestication (aside from the limited "background" section). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:09, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

This page is a huge mistake

As an other contributor said it above, this page is a great error. And the French page too (the Article de qualité of this page is not in favour of the reputation of Wikipedia). In this case Wikipedia is not very serious. It is impossible to speak about domestication without speaking about religion, sacrifice and so on. According great anthropologists (see below), there is a close relationship between sacrifice, religion and the origin of society and language. Theses matters are not well-known but it is necessary to give a large place to these anthropological theories. Some people see a link between domestication and slavery. It is also an interesting view. It is a pity that this page is only written on a positivist point of view. I give sommepossiblesources (even in the en-Wp):

Dogs in ancient China Arthur Maurice Hocart René Girard Henri Hubert Marcel Mauss fr.Luc de Heusch

Girard, René. (1977) Violence et le Sacré (eng. Violence and the Sacred). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

[2] Jeffrey Carter [3] search : domestication + Sacrifice

[4] search : Girard and animals William Robertson Smith


[6] search: domestication + Sacrifice


[8] Jonathan Z. Smith read the p. 151: "A theory of sacrifice must begin with the domesticated animal and with the sociocultural process of domestication"

Because of my bad English I don't think it is possible for me to first change the page. But we must improve a page written less or more on the model of a French page which is a bad page. José Fontaine (talk) 00:27, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

horse domesticated earlier

Utility of domesticating dogs

Jerry Pournelle has stated on his blog that the domestication of dogs was symbiotic in that the villages of the cavemen who domesticated dogs survived longer than villages without dogs. Would be great material for the article if anyone knows of a more reliable source. Tempshill (talk) 23:03, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

Domestication and taming

Are these two words complete synonyms? --Zara-arush (talk) 15:38, 23 July 2009 (UTC)


This article in general feels remarkably different to the majority of wikipedia articles... It seems to be substandard with some contradictory statements, very loose grammar, and very loose facts (a tiglon is domesticated? really?)... The article reads like a collection of high school reports mishmashed together with several different 'voices' to be heard, and the habit of occasionally rambling. However, I am no wiki expert. That said, I think I'd recommend this page for a rewrite... but have no idea how one would go about suggesting such a thing, or if my suggestion is valid. ColbyWolf (talk) 19:42, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

confused method of change?

In the backgrd section, the role of mutation in natural vs artificial selection seems confused. Reference is made to debate about mutation vs artiticial selection (by humans). However... as I understand it, mutation is key to both. Here is my understanding of the mechanism of evolution:

  • mutations occur naturally and randomly, normally very small incremental change -- simply the normal variability seen between different individuals of any species.
  • some selection mechanism then chooses which of those individuals produce offspring, thus passing on their genetic characteristics
  • overtime, those selected characteristics come to dominate the norm in the species -- that is evolution
  • as to the selection mechanism it can be either:

(1) natural -- this is natural selection, the natural competion for survival, in which the best adapted do best and produce the most offspring; or (2) artificial -- as when humans pick characteristics they want and breed for it. Note that while the one is natural and the other artificial, both are based upon mutation to produce the actual (random) changes. Have I got this right? Any actual evolutionary biologists out there who can comment. Wolseleydog (talk) 17:25, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

THIS IS SO TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:11, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

domestication != taming ?

The first line equates domestication and taming, the next line distinguishes domestication as a heritable trait versus taming as an individual trait (as the rest of the article).

As an evolutionary biologist this coincides with my preferences/prejudices, but I know that the domestication concept is very much used as a cultural and non- or less-biological concept in STS research (a viewpoint totally lacking from the article). So I don't dare to alter the article as I'm not enough of an expert to choose one way or the other; I'm just pointing out. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:06, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

yeah I am pretty sure that is right. taming is where you catch an animal from the wild, and train it. there should be a separate article on taming. (talk) 05:56, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

Under the heading "Degrees", in the paragraph discussing "Raised in Captivity/Captured from Wild", there is a statement which says "and animals such as Asian black bears (farmed "cruelly" for their bile)".

While I agree that bear bile farming is horrifically cruel, it gives the article a moral judgement tone that does not fit with an encyclopedia.

I suggest the parenthesis and the word "cruelly" be removed, and the sentence read "and animals such as Asian black bears which are farmed for their bile". —Preceding unsigned comment added by Philip72 (talkcontribs) 18:18, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

I am new to editing wikipedia, so I don't know if it is PC to post a link to a kid's film I made a film about animal domestication. My film is called "Why don't we ride zebras?" It is on youtube and on a science/natural history web channel called TERRA. 13smithwalker (talk) 00:40, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

Kid's film? No problem for it being a kid's film. It could be useful in explaining why zebras are not domesticated. The great animal trainer Gunther Gebel Williams once said that he could not even approach taming a zebra even if it might be an attractive animal to train. (He also mentioned the domestic cat, an animal unsuited to the circus because it is difficult to keep in an enclosure through which it can be seen and because it can easily escape any enclosure; contrast dogs and big cats which have similar abilities if not the same perception of danger). The book did not express a reason. Could it be that zebras see humans only as predators because human behavior is so characteristic of a predator? Horses, in contrast, have found us useful and comparatively trustworthy.

Video as evidence can be troublesome, though. Is the film representative? Is it made by trustworthy people? Is it free from sensationalism and staging? Are people making the film authorities in their field? A transcript would be better as documentation because it would be easier to cite.Pbrower2a (talk) 01:04, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

Domestication in other animals?

Came to this article wondering if there were any examples of domestication in nature. The initial description in the article suggests that domestication purely exists between humans and "Other species". Does anyone know if there are examples in nature or is this a pureley human trait? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:00, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

Domestication is a form of Mutualism. For example, the process by which ants will "farm" aphids is considered mutualistic, not domestication, because domestication is by definition a human activity. While you might be able to make an argument for whether or not they are "the same thing", that would be OR and certainly outside the scope of the article. AdamBellaire (talk) 17:52, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
I believe ants are the only animals to have domesticated another species. in this case a fungus. (talk) 05:56, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

No, the ambrosia beetle also cultivates a fungus which they "farm" inside galleries excavated in the xylem of trees. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:05, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

IIRC, there is a species of ant that farms and herds mealy bugs. LorenzoB (talk) 19:10, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Second circle?

What means second circle in the context of the domestication of animals? — Daniel FR (talk) 01:07, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

Good question. There appears to be no sourcing to this as well. Whoever added appears to think that owning a specimen of a particular species is the same thing as having tamed it, and also that taming is the same thing as domestication. Myrkkyhammas (talk) 18:43, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
I came here to ask the same question. GoEThe (talk) 10:02, 16 September 2013 (UTC)


the article states that only 12 species have been "domesticated". I miss cats in the list (imnsho, cats aren't "domestic" anyway; but that's the point of the debate). perhaps the criteria to define "domestication" is too restrictive, or cat lovers perhaps are too lax. Comments? Lwyx (talk) 23:35, 9 August 2011 (UTC)

yes, pets are a significant component of domestication, not just cats though81.152.200.124 (talk) 15:55, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

Domestic cats are as bloodthirsty predators as any wild cats. Except for their small size (contrast dogs which range in size up to that of lionesses and are similarly powerful, strong, agile, cunning, and voracious) they would be man-eaters. The largest breeds of domestic dog rival all of the Big Cats in size except tigers and male lions, but dogs are roughly equals to humans in the food chain. Dogs and humans are generally not on the meal list of each other, and they find each other useful.

Cats get away with more wild behaviors and are less adapted from wildness than any other domesticated animal, and even revert to wildness more easily than any other animal considered domesticated. They are extremely difficult to control, but mistakes in handling the domestic cat don't have the severe consequences that mishandling a dog might imply. But if they have changed less from a wild animal than some animals have -- then maybe a domestic cat is closer to perfection as a household pet than anything else. A cat can be a marvelous companion, rivaling the dog as such. It might be a wild animal for all practical purposes once it leaves a household enclosure, but if it returns to the family it is not a wild animal.

If it lives consistently in a human enclosure -- in that respect it is more domesticated than a horse or any livestock. It is clearly not a dangerous animal, which rules out just about every other species of cat. It is not vermin. The animal most similar to its role (unless one is to introduce foxes or ferrets as domesticated animals) is the dog. So what is it other than a domestic creature?

With dogs and cats, domestication is not complete control by humans. Cats and dogs have shown themselves capable of manipulating human behavior to their advantage. The domestication of dogs and cats is not all one way.Pbrower2a (talk) 01:32, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

guns germs and steel guns germs and steel guns germs and steel ad nauseum

That's the impression I get from this article.

I have no problem with citing Jared Diamond as a source and putting "guns germs and steel" at the bottom with the other sources but constant off topic quibbling is an irritating distraction, something that should be minimized in wikipedia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:49, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

edit: taming is not synonymous with domestication

Changed the introduction where it said "domestication or 'taming' is.... As an animal or plant is only classified as domesticated if human intervention has resulted in genetic change in the species. (dogs from wolves, modern corn from the old barely edible stuff)

Wording might be awkward, and i probably made typos, so someone might want to clean it up.

For a citation see any basic anthropology text. I just came here to check a date. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:44, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

Taming needs its own article

Why does "taming" redirect to "domestication"? Not only taming needs a separate article and has none, but this redirection prevents making one. denis "spir" (talk) 11:57, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Domesticated lions?

I read in a newspaper yesterday (The Independent, 12 October 2012, page 9) that a pride of captive lions from the managerie of Haile Selassie of Ethiopia is now genetically distinct from other African lions. They have been bred for darker manes and to be smaller and squatter. These changes are presumably " order to accentuate traits that benefit humans" (aesthetics). So, these are presumably 'Domesticated lions'! Should these be included in this article? __DrChrissy (talk) 17:50, 13 October 2012 (UTC)

Is dependency "usual" or "common" or "occaisional"

An editor recently changed in the opening para. the word "common" to usual when relating to a dependency on humans and ability to live in the wild. The editor was correct to make the change because the citation refers to the following definition "to tame (an animal), especially by generations of breeding, to live in close association with human beings as a pet or work animal and usually creating a dependency so that the animal loses its ability to live in the wild." But is this a case where the definition is incorrect. Most of the domesticated species I can think of have feral populations somewhere, so they are not dependent.__DrChrissy (talk) 19:27, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

Replace content of domestication syndrome with a better reference

I removed the content below which was previously written under sub-heading "Plants", section "Background", as it's adapted from a lecture note: Domesticated plant species often differ from their wild relatives in predictable ways. These differences are called the domestication syndrome, and include:

  • Higher germination ratesMore predictable & synchronous germination
  • Increased size of reproductive organs
  • A tendency for ripe seeds to stay on the plant, rather than breaking off and falling to the ground
  • Reduced physical and chemical defences
  • Change in biomass allocation (more in fruits, roots, or stems, depending on human needs).

I replaced with a list of characteristic of domesticated plants taken from a more prominent publication on plant domestication and cultivation (Zeven, A. C., & de Wit, J. M. (1982). Dictionary of Cultivated Plants and Their Regions of Diversity, Excluding Most Ornamentals, Forest Trees and Lower Plants). MKwek (talk) 04:16, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

Change Ox to Cattle?

I would like to propose a change to change Ox to Cattle. Cattle is the general term which describes both cows and bulls. Ox is specifically the male who is castrated and used as a draft or load animal. So it would be proper to talk of domestication of cattle or cow than Ox. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:49, 22 November 2013 (UTC)

Scientific definitions for domesticity and tame

What is the conclusive general statement for domestication? I believe this include domestication by human beings as the essence for its scientific definition. How about taming? Tame? Tame in the dictionary means - to domesticate an animal but tame may have 2 persona in science- tame but without human intervention such as island animals and tame those with human intervention. The same thing with wild- wild which are really wild and wild which shows patterns of "domesticity" or "tameness" as in island animals. In Savillo's proposed domesticity scale for wild birds he stated- Domesticity is not slavery or indoctrination of wild birds- this is the observable natural behavior of "wild" birds to humans in the surroundings per se (how "homely" to humans) which include tame birds (without human intervention/domestication) such as island birds- Galapagos. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:37, 22 February 2014 (UTC)


This article sorely needs some discussion of physiological and psychological neoteny, or pedomorphosis, defined as the retention, by adults, of traits previously seen only in the young, which is commonly encountered among domesticated animals, and is well documented in the human species, at least physiologically. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:304:AE82:3D49:5918:303F:AC1:C5F0 (talk) 07:24, 9 March 2014 (UTC)

Modern instances Is this Reliable?

Modern instances looks a little suspicious (i mean the list). Does any expert on the topic know about this?--Inayity (talk) 10:11, 30 May 2014 (UTC)

Canary (Islands)

Looks like somebody had some fun by adding the Canary Islands as domestication location for the Canary. I am not sure if this could be correct but I am pretty sure the islands were named after dogs, not birds. (talk) 04:04, 1 June 2014 (UTC)


I have found that this article has developed a POV slanted toward the perception that domestication is exploitation of organisms by humans. This is not nessarily true and should be better left out of the article or included in a 'controversy' section. My opinion is that the information presented in this article is presented as an editorial. We should at least agree on removing weasel and peacock terms.

  Bfpage |leave a message  14:02, 1 December 2014 (UTC)

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Importance rating - Wikiproject mammals

Given that "the zoomass of wild vertebrates is now vanishingly small compared to the biomass of domestic animals" and that the calculated biomass of domestic cattle alone is greater than that of all wild mammals (Valclav Smil, 2011, Harvesting the Biosphere:The Human Impact, Population and Development Review 37(4): 613–636, Table 2) I have raised the Importance rating of this article to High as "it covers a general area of knowledge". Regards, William HarrisWikiProject Mammalstalk • 05:57, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

Domestication of plants

We have a section called the Domestication of plants that says absolutely nothing about the domestication of plants. We have a timeline of some agricultural pursuits across time, and we have a paragraph on what the difference is between some wild species compared to their domesticated counterparts. Because plants have no behavioral change, all of the signs of domestication are phenotypic, and there is more research studies online regarding the difference between the genes responsible for domestication and the genes responsible for selected traits in plants than there is for animals. If anybody has an interest in providing content on the domestication process for plants, we would be pleased to hear from them. Regards, William Harristalk • 04:57, 29 December 2015 (UTC)

List of domesticated animals

Hi Mac, you and I appear to be the only two talking out here at present but I notice that others are watching and visiting recent edits. A fair chunk of this article appears under the Dates and Places section, which lists domesticated animals in a table. These appear to have originally been "borrowed" from the main article called List of domesticated animals, which is maintained by a very diligent User:Tamtrible. My view is that the Domestication article should have a section called List of Domesticated Animals with a link to this main article, and no more. Nothing else under it. Else, we begin to form a folk with separate lists and citations (as has begun to happen now), and I am a firm believer in having a Single Source of Truth. Additionally, we also appear to be developing a list of "Modern instances" and Hybrids, I am unsure where these might fit. I seek both your views - plus anybody else's watching - please. Regards, William Harristalk • 06:31, 22 January 2016 (UTC)

Yes, it will lead to WP:CONTENTFORK, and perhaps even WP:POVFORK, as well as wasted effort to try to maintain two redundant lists. A reader-helpful compromise (and more in keeping with WP:SUMMARY) would probably actually be to have a concise summary paragraph here, listing the broad types (cattle, pigs, etc.), in normal prose form, not a list. Something like:
{{Main|List of domesticated animals}}
<--Do not add specific species, subspecies, and varieties here. That's what the main article on that topic is for.-->
Domesticated animals include or have included a variety of mammals and birds. Mammals include various types of [[cattle]], [[horse]], [[goat]], [[sheep]], [[pig]], [etc.] Domesticated birds have included forms of [[chicken]], [[turkey]], [[pigeon]], [etc.] Some additional domesticated animals include [whatever; there aren't many non-mammals and non-birds that qualify as true domesticates].</nowiki>
{{Detail|List of domesticated animals}}
And use links that actually go to the domesticate articles (I didn't check these; some might go to the genus articles). If it's concise enough, the second template, at the end, will be unneeded, but I'd include it if this were two or more paragraphs.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  06:57, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks Mac. I shall wait and see if Tamtrible or others have some thoughts. I have discovered that the list of hybrids has been copied from the Hybrid (biology) article and as interesting as it is, it remains unclear what it has to do with the process of domestication. (I also appreciate what you have taught me about citing primary and secondary sources, as you can clearly see under the newly redeveloped Domestication of Animals section.) Regards, William Harristalk • 20:54, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
I have no significant thoughts, other than that shortening the list here, and primarily pointing people at the giant list of domesticated animals, would be good. What I might do is specifically list the major ones (eg chickens, goats, cows), and more or less categorically list the minor ones (eg "various ornamental and/or pet birds", "several species of rodent"). I mostly got involved in the other page due to edit wars where certain animals now on the second list kept getting added and removed and added and removed, and it bugged me. Especially since--one of those animals (leopard geckos) is bred in captivity pretty extensively, with several known pattern or color morphs (including 3 different strains of albinism), and another (crested geckos) was once thought *extinct* in the wild, yet you can buy it at Petsmart, because it was so easily captive-bred. Tamtrible (talk) 09:41, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks Tamtrible, you have done commendable work, and when I first came across you last July on the List page I was impressed with your approach and diligence. Regarding geckos, it is amazing how quickly phenotypic change can occur in a human-created environment. I have already conducted an "audit" between the two pages and moved the relevant citations that differed onto the List page. Given both your comments, I am leaning towards (1) Renaming the section that is currently called "Approximate Dates and Locations of Domesticated Animals" to "List of Domesticated Animals" followed by the "Main|List of domesticated animals" template. (2) Listing only the major ones in alpha order as a summary paragraph with links to each one's article, because we don't want someone to come along in the future and see a list that might be re-tabled to start the WP:CONTENTFORK again. Therefore, the List page provides a Single Source of Truth with a table of domesticants, dates and locations all with citations. The domestication page will become a sign-post for it without much detail. On the List page, be prepared for the "Location of Origin" to have multiple entries, as it would appear that zooarchaeology and genetic analysis are now revealing multiple domestication events. My thanks to you both. William Harristalk • 20:28, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
I have found a List of domesticated plants and have added a link to it from the article. Therefore, I have named the chapter that covers both as Lists - people should be able to find what they want from there. Regards, William Harristalk • 21:43, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

Negative aspects section

Someone might review this section for achieving a neutral point of view. For example, negative aspects includes: reduction in size, piebald color, shorter faces with smaller and fewer teeth, diminished horns, smaller brains, simplified behavior patterns. It remains unclear why these are negative traits. The elephant is reduced in size compared to the extinct mammoth - no domestication was necessary to achieve that, nature thought it was a good idea for a warming planet. What is the downside of piebald color, especially when humans are willing to spread the owners of these genes around the globe and mass-produce them, giving their genes a competitive advantage over their wild cousins. Smaller brains - which is usually accompanied by more folds in the brain - is indicated in recent studies for better memory and enhanced processing power. Based on cranial capacity, the human brain is smaller than the Neanderthal brain - nobody is arguing that this is a negative aspect. Shorter faces with fewer teeth; that would be a dog compared to the extant gray wolf, but not the dog compared to its probable ancestor, the megafaunal wolf, which did have a shorter, wider palate (like a large rottwheiler but with massive bone-crunching power). This section is largely based on a book written 50 years ago and experiments with rats; I question its relevance today, its single source, and the objectivity of the editor who placed it in the article. Regards, William Harristalk • 04:30, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

Agreed; see also previous #PoV problems with "Negative aspects" section thread. I smell a strong whiff of the WP:FRINGE side of the animal-rights and don't-mess-with-nature camps here.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  00:49, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
    • ^ Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond